Otter Creek Brewery in Middlebury, VT
This weekend, I went on a tour of Vermont with a couple friends and got the chance to stop at some breweries during it. Our first official stop was at Otter Creek brewery in the adorable town of Middlebury. After roaming the town for a while and getting sandwiches at the delicious Costello’s we headed off to Otter Creek.
Otter Creek has always been a favorite brewery of mine; many of their beers remain at the top of my list, as are beers from their partner brewery Wolaver’s Organic. I was excited to see where all the delciousness was coming from, and to drink straight from the tap the brewery favorites like the Copper Ale and Wolaver’s pumpkin ale.
It is a small brewery but an amazing operation for it’s size. It was very rainy when we visited so I was anxious to get inside and check everything out. The smell of yeast is almost overwhelming right when you get there; none of their operation is hidden and there is no desire to make it seem fancier than it is. It’s honest and simple, as you can see from this exterior shot above. It’s sweet! Very Vermont. Makes you feel right at home when you come in.
We got a sampler (asked our waitress to surprise us) to split since we still had to drive to Burlington that night. The front row where you see the Wolaver’s are, from left to right, Pumpkin Ale, Honey Brown, and IPA. The back row is all Otter Creek: Summer Ale, Oktoberfest, and the Black IPA. I was so excited to get one last taste of their summer ale, which is light, bubbly, and easy to drink on a hot day. The Oktoberfest is certainly one of the more delicious Oktoberfest beers I’ve had. I know I have talked constantly about the spiciness in Fall beers but this one definitely had the right amount.
I have to say though, that as someone who doesn’t normally enjoy very dark beers, the Black IPA was pretty incredible. Smooth, nutty, bold without being too bitter or strong. The concept of a Black IPA is already interesting to me to begin with.
And of course, the Wolaver’s pumpkin ale trumped all. It is sweet without being saccharine. Bubbly and smooth. Not light but not dark either; an in between that practically anyone can jive with in my opinion.
Besides the awesome samplers and pints, the brewery operation could be seen right from where you sat and drank. Things were in full swing this day. It’s amazing to me that such a small place can produce so much beer. They were in the process of bottling their 20th Anniversary Ale.
The self guided tour is literally just walking around the little pub area looking through the glass at the men working (like a beer zoo, practically). I got a little too fascinated with the bottling end process watching the machine slap labels on. This one here, although blurry, is indeed the 20th Anniversary Ale. I loved the bottle design, so classy. It’s a black label with a rusted orange writing on it.
With pretty much any beer you want right on tap there and the brewery before your very eyes, you don’t have to move much or do much of anything. It’s a great place, relaxed, laid back, and a fun atmosphere. A big map on the wall marks where people are from who have visited and there is free popcorn available to eat. Each day they have a specialty being made in the kitchen to enjoy with your beers. I loved how small and intimate everything was. And of course, the beer was delicious.